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Flames open quick trip with visit to Dallas

by Adam Kimelman

FLAMES (26-20-6) at STARS (22-19-11)

Last 10 -- Flames 1-8-1; Stars 4-6-0

Season series -- This is the third of four meetings between the teams this season. They split the first two games, with the visiting team winning each time. On Oct. 9, Mike Ribeiro and Brad Richards had a goal and an assist each in the Stars' 5-2 win. On Nov. 4, Jarome Iginla capped a 2-goal, 3-point night by scoring 1:25 into overtime for a 3-2 Flames victory.

Big story -- What's wrong with the Flames? They're winless in their last seven, and have two goals or fewer in nine of their last 10 games.

Team Scope:

Flames -- Hitting the road could be the best thing right now for the Flames, who go from Dallas to Phoenix for a game on Thursday. They're 0-5-1 in their last six at home, with just six goals in that span. Monday's 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues at the Pengrowth Saddledome featured sporadic booing of the home team.

"It's tough, but rightfully so," forward Brandon Prust told the Calgary Sun. "We haven't put a lot of pucks in the net. Nobody is more frustrated than us. They will boo because that's what fans do. They want wins and they want goals. None of them is as frustrated as us right now."

Stars -- As Dallas remains on the outside of the playoffs and the trade deadline nears, a few players are starting to hear their names mentioned in trade talks -- among them goalie Marty Turco and center Mike Modano. Both players are doing what they can to downplay the talks.

"I know it's out there, but I really, truly do everything I can to not read about and not talk about it. It does me no good," Turco, whose contract is up after the season, told the Dallas Morning News. "I honestly am so tied up in doing anything that I can to help my team win, that I feel that's the best place to put all of my energy. And if you want to talk about what's best for me and my future and my family, it's to play well. That will take care of a lot of things."

Modano, the face of the franchise since the club was in Minnesota, was asked by the Edmonton Journal how he would feel about a trade.

"That would be a tough call," Modano said. "What I've enjoyed is being with one team. There's been tons of transition and turnover here, and we're still hanging around. That's been a real joy for me to see that from start to finish. It's been a fun ride, good, bad, tons of experiences. To go somewhere else and play for a month and a half ... I don't know if I want to do that. If I was at that point where I hadn't won (like Ray Bourque in Boston, going to Colorado), I'd seriously think about it, but ..."

Who's hot -- Stars center Brad Richards has 5 points in his last five games, and must be looking forward to playing the Flames -- in 11 games, he has 7 goals and 13 points against them.

Iginla has just 1 goal in his last 15 games, but he scored twice the last time Calgary played the Stars, and in 47 games against them, he has 11 goals.

Injury report -- The Stars will get captain Brenden Morrow (oblique) and fellow forward Jere Lehtinen (upper-body injury) back for this one. Tom Wandell, who injured his knee Monday, is expected to miss about a week. … The Flames continue to be without forwards David Moss (undisclosed) and Nigel Dawes (leg), who are on injured reserve.

Stat pack -- In his last 10 games, Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has allowed just 24 goals on 350 shots -- a .931 save percentage -- but he's just 3-6-1 in that span.

Puck drop -- Flames coach Brent Sutter is just as frustrated as anyone else with his team, but he is refusing to get too down. He knows that a short winning streak will have his team right back into top eight in the Western Conference.

"It's disappointing to lose the game," Sutter told reporters after Monday's loss to the Blues, "but I'm not going to stand here and be negative because everyone else in the world (is)."

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